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  • Bears’ rookie punter wows ’em Jul 27, 2014 8:33 PM
    On the first day of practice in full pads, it was Bears rookie punter Pat O'Donnell's booming boots that got the crowd of 9,500 most excited.

     
  • Rockies bring offense to town Jul 27, 2014 6:49 PM
    The Rockies are coming, the Rockies are coming. The Colorado Rockies come to Wrigley Field this week, and Cubs pitchers will have to be ready because the Rockies lead the National League in many key offensive categories. They'll also start four left-handed pitchers against the Cubs.

     
  • Cubs shutout by Cards at Wrigley Jul 27, 2014 4:29 PM
    Adam Wainwright pitched seven scoreless innings and Matt Holliday hit a solo homer to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory and a series win over the Cubs on Sunday. The Cardinals won two of the three games at Wrigley Field in the weekend set. The Cubs have not won a home series since taking two of three from the Miami Marlins June 6-8. Wainwright allowed five hits and walked three during his seven innings. It was a far cry from his previous outing when he allowed six runs (four earned) in 4? innings against the Tampa Bay Rays last Tuesday. Kevin Siegrist worked the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances. Cubs rookie Kyle Hendricks (1-1) allowed just one run on seven hits in 6? innings. With the wind blowing out to right field, the conditions seemed ideal for a classic Wrigley slugfest -- a feeling seemingly confirmed when Holliday, the third batter of the game, lifted a drive to center field that landed in the batter’s eye for a solo homer and a 1-0 Cardinals lead. But that’s where the score stayed as the starters took control. On paper, the matchup seemed a huge mismatch, but Hendricks was able to stay competitive with the perennial All-Star, with the only essential difference being Holliday’s blast. Hendricks benefited from two double plays and Matt Carpenter was thrown out at second attempting to stretch a single, but the rookie never faced a true jam. The only time he was close to giving up a run after the first inning came after he was lifted in the seventh inning with a runner on first base and one out. Left-hander Wesley Wright loaded the bases with two out, but got Wainwright to line out softly to first base. NOTES: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher, on former Cubs great Greg Maddux, who was inducted into the hall of fame on Sunday: “I would have enjoyed catching him, for sure. I would have enjoyed trying to understand how he thought about the game. The things I saw him do. I remember one time here, he put one right down the middle. ‘Hit it as hard as you want because the wind was screaming in.’ I smashed it as hard as I could smash it, and it went nowhere. He just gave a grin.”... As part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Wrigley Field, both teams wore replica uniforms from 1978. The Cardinals uniforms were only slightly different than ones from today (no belts and pullover jerseys being the main change), but the Cubs wore powder blue pinstripes, which were the road uniforms then. ... The Cardinals are off on Monday, while the Cubs begin a four-game home series with the Colorado Rockies, with LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 5.00) facing LHP Yohan Flande (0-2, 7.20).

     
  • Thomas, Maddux, 4 others inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame Jul 27, 2014 5:08 PM
    Three men who made their mark on the baseball diamond and three who made theirs from the dugout were inducted Sunday into baseball’s Hall of Fame. The six men, three of whom have ties to the Cubs and White Sox, addressed the thousands who gathered in Cooperstown, thanking those who helped them along the way. Frank Thomas Thomas, the most accomplished slugger in White Sox history, was nicknamed “The Big Hurt” for his bat prowess, He won AL MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and finished his 19-year career with a .301 batting average, 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs. He’s also the only player in major league history with seven straight seasons with a .300 average, 20 homers, 100 RBIs and 100 walks, and the first Hall of Famer who spent the majority of his career as a designated hitter. Thomas played 16 years for the White Sox and established himself as the best hitter in franchise history. He holds the team record for homers (448), doubles (447), RBIs (1,465), runs (1,327), extra-base hits (906), walks (1,466), total bases (3,949), slugging percentage (.568) and on-base percentage (.427). Greg Maddux Maddux won 355 games over a 23-year major league career. Nicknamed “Mad Dog,” Maddux had stints with the Braves, Cubs, Padres and Dodgers and won four straight Cy Young Awards, leading the NL in innings each season. Known for his pinpoint control, Maddux walked just 999 in 5,008 1-3 innings and ranks 10th in strikeouts with 3,371. He also was a sharp fielder, capturing 18 Gold Gloves, and was an All-Star eight times. Maddux and fellow inductee Tom Glavine were mainstays of the Braves staff, helping Atlanta win 14 division titles in a row starting in the 1990s. Tom Glavine Glavine is the rare athlete drafted by two professional leagues in different sports. He won 305 games and two Cy Young Awards, and posted five seasons with 20 or more victories. Only three left-handers have more wins — Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton and Eddie Plank. Drafted by the Braves in 1984, Glavine also was taken by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL draft that year but chose to focus on baseball. Glavine was on the mound when the Braves won Game 6 to clinch the 1995 World Series and give the city of Atlanta its lone major sports title. Tony La Russa La Russa, third all-time in victories as a manager, 2,728 times in his long career, behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw. He was picked as manager of the year four times and won 12 division titles, six pennants and World Series titles in 1989, 2006, and 2011. Signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1962, La Russa’s six-year major league career as an infielder was forgettable. He batted .199 with no home runs in 132 games. But after earning a law degree at Florida State University and giving managing a try in the minor leagues, he found his niche, was elevated to manage the White Sox in 1979, and his managing career took off. He won two championships with St. Louis and one with Oakland. Joe Torre Torre, the managerial mastermind of the resurgence of the New York Yankees, excelled as a player — in 1971 he won National League MVP honors with a signature season that included 230 hits and a .363 average, 97 runs, and 137 RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals — but he became something special in the Yankees dugout. Despite mediocre stints managing the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals (five winning seasons in 15 years), Torre was hired by the Yankees prior to the 1996 season. In 12 years with Torre at the helm, the Yankees won 10 division titles, six AL pennants, and four World Series. Torre is the only man to amass more than 2,000 hits (2,342) as a player and win more than 2,000 games (2,326) as a manager, according to STATS. Bobby Cox Cox guided the Atlanta Braves to an unprecedented 14 straight division titles and 15 playoff appearances. A light-hitting infielder who appeared in 220 games for the New York Yankees in 1968-69, Cox found his niche in the dugout. He retired after the 2010 season with 2,504 victories in 29 seasons, fourth behind Connie Mack, John McGraw and fellow inductee Tony La Russa. The feisty Cox, who also spent four years in Toronto, was a four-time Manager of the Year, three in the NL and one in the AL, and holds the major league record with 159 ejections.

     
  • Bears’ Williams small player with big-play potential Jul 27, 2014 8:35 PM
    Chris Williams is the littlest player on the field, but his big-play potential makes him a leading candidate for the Bears' job of return specialist that has been vacant since Devin Hester left for the Atlanta Falcons. Williams also brings another dimension to the Bears' wide receiver depth chart with superior speed and quickness to anyone else on the team.

     
  • Off-the-field headlines rarely pretty for Thomas Jul 26, 2014 1:49 PM
    Frank Thomas was the best hitter in White Sox history - and one of the best to ever play major-league baseball. But looking back on his ride to the Hall of Fame, Thomas experienced more than a few bumps.

     
  • Giants acquire righty Jake Peavy from Red Sox Jul 26, 2014 3:43 PM
    The San Francisco Giants boosted their rotation for the stretch run by acquiring right-hander and former White Sox Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday for a pair of minor league pitchers. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will start Sunday night’s series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants held a half-game division lead in the NL West against their rival going into Saturday night’s middle game at AT&T Park. The Giants have plenty of familiarity with Peavy, who pitched for manager Bruce Bochy with the San Diego Padres in the playoffs in 2005-06. “It’s great to be reunited with Jake,” Bochy said by text message. “Look forward to working with him again.” San Francisco missed the playoffs in 2013 after winning the World Series in 2010 and ‘12, and the club is committed to making another special October run. The 33-year-old Peavy pitched one of his best games last Aug. 25 at Dodger Stadium. He tossed a three-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk in an 8-1 Red Sox victory. San Francisco received cash from Boston and is sending right-hander Heath Hembree and lefty Edwin Escobar to the World Series champion Red Sox in the swap. Both players were optioned by the Red Sox to Triple-A Pawtucket. Peavy (1-9, 4.72 ERA) has been hurt by poor run support this season, receiving two runs or fewer of support in each of his past eight starts. He is in the final season of a $29 million, two-year contract. Peavy is earning $14.5 million this season, with the Red Sox paying more than $3 million of his remaining salary for the year — $5.15 million. Six weeks on the disabled list last year with a rib injury cost him a chance to have a conditional $15 million option for 2015 if he had reached 400 innings over 2013-14. He is at 268 2-3 heading into Sunday’s outing. Yusmeiro Petit had been scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Giants with right-hander Matt Cain on the disabled list. The Giants made the deal without having to give up their top pitching prospect, Kyle Crick. It’s been a busy week for Giants general manager Brian Sabean and assistant GM Bobby Evans. On Friday, they promoted second baseman Dan Uggla from Triple-A Fresno only four days after they signed him to a minor league contract Monday. Uggla was released by Atlanta on July 18. Escobar went 3-8 with a 5.11 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 20 games for Triple-A Fresno, while Hembree went 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 18 saves with 46 strikeouts in 41 appearances for Fresno this year.

     
  • Tulowitzki’s name bungled in giveaway gaffe Jul 26, 2014 8:35 PM
    Troy Tulowitzki has a tough name to spell, even at his own ballpark. The Colorado Rockies handed out 15,000 jerseys with the All-Star shortstop’s name misspelled in a giveaway gaffe Saturday night at Coors Field.

     
  • Baseball HOF cuts election eligibility to 10 years Jul 26, 2014 3:47 PM
    Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire will have less time to remain eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot under changes made Saturday. The Hall of Fame’s board cut a player’s eligibility from 15 years to 10, which gives McGwire a maximum of two more appearances on the writers’ ballot. Bonds, Clemens and Sosa, shunned so far along with other Steroids Era stars, can be considered up to eight more times each by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4 last year in his second ballot appearance, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Bonds, a seven-time MVP and baseball’s career home runs leader, fell from 36.2 percent to 34.7. McGwire dropped from 16.9 percent to 11, down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008. Sosa, who hit 609 homers, dropped from 12.5 percent to 7.2 — close to falling below the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot. Three players with 11-15 years will remain eligible: Don Mattingly (15th year in 2015), Alan Trammell (14th) and Lee Smith (13th). This is just the second change in voting rules since 1985, when the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot was instituted. In 1991, players on baseball’s permanent ineligible list were barred from the ballot, a move that prevented career hits leader Pete Rose from being considered. Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 after an investigation by Major League Baseball concluded he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win while managing the team. Members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point are eligible to vote. Under another change announced Saturday, eligible voters will be required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct, and their names will be made public, but not their individual votes. Dan Le Batard, an ESPN host and Miami Herald columnist, was kicked out of the BBWAA for one year and barred from future Hall votes in January after he turned over his 2014 ballot to a website that allowed readers to choose the selections.

     
  • Cubs can’t pull off 2nd straight comeback win Jul 26, 2014 8:50 PM
    The Chicago Cubs tried to follow the same script that produced a comeback win the day before. They just couldn’t pull off a similar finish. The Cubs fell behind St. Louis early and tied it with an unlikely home run, but the Cardinals ended up with a 6-3 victory on Saturday in front of a big crowd divided by fans of the rival clubs. Matt Adams drove in four runs, A.J. Pierzynski had three hits in his St. Louis debut, and the Cardinals snapped a four-game skid.

     
  • It’s a Brave new world in Cooperstown Jul 26, 2014 11:31 PM
    It's an Atlanta celebration in upstate New York this weekend as Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

     
  • Pierzynski adds to Cubs’ woes again Jul 26, 2014 11:24 PM
    Not only did the Cubs drop a 6-3 decision to rival St. Louis on Saturday, they lost in part due to a successful Cardinals debut by free-agent acquisition A.J. Pierzynski, the active player Cubs fans love to hate more than any other.

     
  • Sale shuts down Twins in White Sox’s 7-0 win Jul 26, 2014 10:30 PM
    Chris Sale tied a season high with 12 strikeouts in eight dominant innings, Alexei Ramirez hit his 10th homer, and the Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota 7-0 on Saturday night for their third straight win over the Twins. Sale (10-1) scattered five hits — all singles — and became the first White Sox starter to win 10 of his first 11 decisions in a season since Mark Buehrle in 2005. It was also Sale’s 15th career game with 10 or more strikeouts, moving him into a tie for second on the team’s all-time list with Juan Pizarro.

     
  • Cardinals sign veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski Jul 26, 2014 3:36 PM
    For A.J. Pierzynski, the opportunity for a fresh start with a perennial contender was too good to pass up. Pierzynski on Saturday signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, choosing them from among several suitors, 10 days after being released by the Boston Red Sox.

     
  • Cubs’ Ramirez to get a breather in minors Jul 26, 2014 11:19 PM
    The Cubs optioned effective reliever Neil Ramirez to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday to avoid overusing the right-hander, manager Rick Renteria said. Ramirez boasts a 0.96 ERA in 28 innings over 33 appearances this season, including 9 appearances since July 1 capped by a key hold in the eighth inning of Friday’s 7-6 victory over St. Louis.

     
  • Thomas a true fan favorite Jul 27, 2014 12:04 AM
    White Sox fans have flocked to Cooperstown to watch the best hitter in franchise history, Frank Thomas, be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

     
  • More of same for Fire Jul 27, 2014 12:03 AM
    The Chicago Fire took a break from Major League Soccer play, but it couldn’t stop the MLS calendar. Saturday night’s 2-0 loss to English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur at Toyota Park gave the home team a much-needed break from league play after Wednesday’s disheartening 5-1 loss at San Jose. “It was welcome, because it was a tough few days after the last result we had,” said Fire coach/director of soccer Frank Yallop, adding he was just getting over Wednesday’s loss.

     
  • Thomas always driven to be great hitter Jul 26, 2014 11:23 PM
    Frank Thomas was always driven to become one of the greatest hitters in major-league history. He accomplished that goal over 19 major-league seasons, 16 spent with the White Sox, and the Big Hurt's next accomplishment is entering the Hall of Fame.

     
  • Thomas, Maddux overcame PEDS to reach HOF Jul 26, 2014 9:08 PM
    As the six newest Hall of Famers sat in one room Saturday afternoon, meeting the media together for the first time this weekend, it was hard to avoid the contradiction that was the men who got here despite steroids in baseball -- and those who profited so much from it.

     
  • Trestman no fan of training-camp fights Jul 26, 2014 8:28 PM
    For the second time in as many practices, a brief skirmish erupted during the Bears' Saturday morning practice, this time involving defensive end Lamarr Houston and offensive tackle Jordan Mills. Coach Marc Trestman realizes scuffles are inevitable, but he also cautions his players on the dangers of losing control in game situations.

     
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